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Water (2005)



Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 90
Fresh: 82 | Rotten: 8

This compassionate work of social criticism is also luminous, due to both its lyrical imagery and cast.


Average Rating: 7.7/10
Critic Reviews: 34
Fresh: 31 | Rotten: 3

This compassionate work of social criticism is also luminous, due to both its lyrical imagery and cast.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 44,140

My Rating

Movie Info

The film examines the plight of a group of widows forced into poverty at a temple in the holy city of Varanasi. It focuses on a relationship between one of the widows, who wants to escape the social restrictions imposed on widows, and a man who is from the highest caste and a follower of Mahatma Gandhi.

Aug 29, 2006


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All Critics (101) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (82) | Rotten (8) | DVD (10)

Quite possibly the best picture of the year thus far, with no fewer than three of the most luminous female performances I have ever seen onscreen.

July 19, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mehta prevailed, and this scandalous, beautiful and very moving tale of repression, hope and a tragedy is her triumph, and Hindu India's shame.

July 7, 2006 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
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Unfolds with the clean, simple lines of a fairy tale, and if the characters initially seem to be too black-or-white to be believable, the moral complexity of the story reveals itself in a gradual, subtle manner.

May 19, 2006 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
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Ebbs and flows with devastating truths and profound insights into the hypocrisy of extremism in any religion.

May 18, 2006 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mehta's film is courageous and reticent, a shout masquerading as a whisper.

May 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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Reminds us that Mehta is a filmmaker of courage -- she refused to abandon this film even after fundamentalist protestors shut down the production in India -- and singular style, telling stories that have never been told on screen.

May 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mehta explores the politics of religion to highlight how religious hypocrisy is used to ensure women are undermined and made subservient for economic purposes.

February 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Autopsy
Cinema Autopsy

Powerful tale that unfortunately fails to provide any kind of real historical context for the oppression of Indian widows.

April 3, 2007 Full Review Source:

Perhaps the adversity of making the movie allowed the filmmakers and actors to empathize more fully with the subject and characters of Water.

February 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

... the incidence of violence against women at home or in institutions give Mehta's 1938 tale a currency that confirms the old notion "actions change, but attitudes do not."

February 10, 2007 Full Review Source: JWR

One of the best films of the year.

January 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Surprisingly, not much has changed in the last 70 years. The tradition of sequestering widows continues in India. Mehta deserves praise for spotlighting this situation. WATER is one of the year's best films.

January 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Murphy's Movie Reviews
Murphy's Movie Reviews

Though it's a story told with feminist sensitivity, it's also the most relevant perspective for such injustice to women.

December 21, 2006 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals
Cinema Signals

Full of lush, fluid cinematography and evocative music, Water is an important look at a social injustice, and Mehta's most accomplished film yet.

November 10, 2006 Full Review Source: Christianity Today
Christianity Today

... gorgeous and heartbreaking... full of glorious, unforgettably pretty images... But they do not overpower Mehta's involving drama or the exceptionally fine performances of her stars...

August 4, 2006 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

Controversial for exposing the rigidity of the Hindu religion.

July 8, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Water simmers at the injustice heaped upon these women because of religious tradition.

June 27, 2006 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

Both a high-minded glossy soap opera, in the tradition of a Darryl F. Zanuck forbidden-love potboiler like 'Island in the Sun,' and a fierce expose of the mistreatment of women encouraged by fundamentalist religious tradition...

June 26, 2006
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

For those who can accept Mehta's approach, it's a remarkably rewarding film.

June 14, 2006 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

All the pat plotting and discourse in the world can't extinguish the fire of a film this well-intended, sensitively acted and beautifully filmed.

June 8, 2006 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

The movie's sentimental vision rests on the flimsy idea that 'real' religion never sanctions cruelty.

June 7, 2006're an observer to a real dialogue and not merely a viewer in an audience watching a scripted drama and plot unfold.

June 6, 2006 Full Review Source:

A heartbreaking prism through which to understand the absurdity and cruelty of this practice.

June 2, 2006
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

It slowly builds in emotional power.

June 2, 2006 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

Audience Reviews for Water

There's few movies that can ride on purely beautiful cinematography in order to tell a story, but this certainly does. The message of this movie is so well told through its images that it quite possibly could have been utterly silent and still effective. Now the basic story and characters are okay, but they wouldn't be half as effective if they weren't given such a great backdrop. The issue is important, but not something an American audience would necessarily need a feature length to understand. For a two hour movie that essentially deals with one sole issue, it can be a bit lengthy and unevenly paced, but I would never go as far as to say that it was bad or boring. It also has quite possibly one of the most oddly humorous moments ever brought onscreen concerning a fart joke and a child stomping on a fat woman's back.
May 2, 2011

Super Reviewer

Ooooooooh. This is a most WONDERFUL movie! The setting is beautiful. The story is amazing and very moving. The acting superb. This is my idea of a PERFECT film. This movie was nominated for a 2007 Academy Award. I dont understand why this movie wouldnt have won hands down. Truly, truly wonderful.
October 14, 2010

Super Reviewer

Heart braking and fascinating look at the terrible life of widows in India.
February 5, 2010

Super Reviewer

An important film to see if not all that good, just barely socially conscious and iconoclastic enough to overcome its lack of a coherent story. This is very sensitive filmmaking and the acting (particularly the child actor Sarala) is quite good, but the film is hard to watch due to its incredibly slow pacing. Stick with it, the second half is good (until the cop-out ending which I won't spoil), but there's just not enough there to overcome the excessive "build-up" of the first half. A letdown, overall.
March 29, 2009

Super Reviewer

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